Time With Jesus
by Paul Collins
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
While living in Panama, we have been slowly but surely trying to improve our Spanish. We spend a great deal of time just speaking with people, trying to build relationships with them while hoping to earn the right to speak to their hearts. Much time and energy goes into this. We have other responsibilities, too, as all missionaries do. You know—the logistical and office stuff. But over and above my many ministry responsibilities are my responsibilities as a husband and a father.
In Acts, Peter and John had just, through the power of the name of Jesus, healed a man who had been lame since birth and was now in his 40s. After the two of them taught in the Temple, receiving much attention from their actions, the powers-that-be questioned them. These political and religious leaders were amazed by the words of uneducated fishermen because they spoke, not as expected, but in such a way as to recall confrontations these Jewish leaders had once had with a certain Nazarene named Jesus. Peter and John’s words, logic, and thought processes sounded like His. These powerful Jewish leaders could not answer the disciples’ questions without condemning themselves. I wonder if they ever became tired of this?
Their Rabbi, Master, and Lord clearly put His mark on these “uneducated flunkies.” They were true disciples. It was evident by their speech and in their obedience to what He told them in Luke 21:14-15. They walked and spoke with the confident power of who they were and whose they were.
They had spent time with Jesus. Not just passing time, but that quality stuff that can only be observed and absorbed in times right after dinner when folks engage in chitchat. Truths are gleaned from quietly watching, because we are just too frightened to say anything in the moment.
So, applying this to me: can Panamanians see that I have spent time with Jesus? Can my children? If not, am I a real disciple? Do I care enough about the One I call Lord to change my behavior and spend more time with Him? If not, does that mean I care only for fire insurance?
If a disciple who was not willing to forsake all to follow Christ was unworthy of the Kingdom of Heaven, how dare I think that just being a follower makes me worthy? If I am not sitting at His feet and do not have the desire to be changed by Him, why should I think He really is my Lord?
Therefore, I am renewing my focus. I am placing the other stuff and responsibilities in their rightful place, and fasting if necessary, until those around marvel that this man has spent time with Jesus.
How about you? How much time are you spending with Jesus? If called before your city council or board of directors or other powers-that-be, would Jesus speak through you? Would they know you spent time with Jesus? “Followers” abound. Will you be a disciple?
About the Writer: Paul and Chrissy Collins were appointed as career missionaries to Panama in April 2008. After a year of language school in San Jose, Costa Rica, the couple and their three children have settled in Santiago, Veraguas, where they are working with a recent Bible institute graduate to plant a church. Learn more at www.fwbgo.com.